Aged Care may seem like a tricky topic to be bringing up over Christmas lunch, but as it’s often one of the few times a year the whole family gets together it’s the perfect time start assessing whether it’s needed.
Aged Care specialist Brenda Will said people are often so busy they just don’t get to see their family as much anymore and while it used to be parents checking in on how the kids are doing maybe it now needs to be the other way around.
“You don’t want to be causing a crisis at Christmas, but while lunch is cooking it is a really great time to observe how your parents are going and to see how they are coping in their own home,” Ms Will said.
“Have a one on one chat with them and you might be surprised to learn they do have more fears and anxieties over everyday tasks that they’ve never mentioned before,” she said.
“We can all become to wrapped up in our own lives and not realise that our parents may need a bit more care and attention than they have previously.”
“It’s also a really good time to catch up with your siblings to compare notes about unusual behaviours or issues that may have arisen since you last saw them.”
“I’m not suggesting you sit down and tell your parents they need to go into aged care over Christmas but if you do notice some changes my best advice is to organise a family meeting in the new year.”
“This is a great opportunity to have a talk about what plans are in place for the future care of your parents and to hear what they would like to do.”
“Find out if they would like a bit of help around the house and then discuss as a family how that can be managed; could all the kids contribute and visit a bit more or is it a case of bringing in some external help.”
“Most people want to stay in their house for as long as possible so think about what modifications can be made to make their home safer and more age friendly.”
“People often panic when you start talking about aged care, but the first step would be looking at what home care services could help.”
“There is currently a lot of government funding going into increasing these to keep people independent and at home for longer.”
Brenda Wills’ tips about how to approach aged care over Christmas;
- Pay attention: Christmas is the perfect time to see spend quality time with your parents and observe how they are coping with everyday life.
- Organise a family meeting:Talk to siblings, plan a catch-up in the new year where you can discuss as a family how to best manage the changing needs of your parents.
- Make their home age friendly: take away tripping hazards, get rid of clutter, make sure common kitchen items are within reach and install rails in bathrooms before they are needed.
- Get appropriate documents arranged: Older Australians must carefully consider getting an Enduring Power of Attorney established whilst they can. They may find they are unable to legally execute such a document after dementia has been diagnosed so it needs to be done early. The same applies to preparing wills.
- Plan ahead:There is a national queue waiting to access Government funded home care packages. It can take longer than 12 months in many cases to get a package. These can be worth as much as $50,000 so it is best to start the ball rolling and get an ACAT assessment as soon as possible so the necessary care is available when you need it.
“The home care packages are fantastic but there’s simply not enough to cope with the demand.”
“There’s currently more than 121,000 Australians in the national queue waiting for home care services packages.”
“By getting organised early you will have the chance to shop around to ensure you are getting the best care for your parents.”
“Use the new year to get your parents affairs in order and do the necessarily work around their house to ensure they can stay there for as a long as possible.”
For more information about how Boutique Advisers can help with the aged care journey go to– https://www.boutiqueadvisers.com.au/
About Brenda Will– Brenda is an accredited Aged Care specialist adviser, Certified Financial Planner, hold a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Financial Services as well as a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery (Hons).
This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.